AM Homes, winner of the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction

The American author discusses how she wrote her winning novel in the shadow of 9/11, and why an all-female book prize is a good thing.

Sitting in a chaotic green room at the London South Bank centre, the American author AM Homes is surrounded by a buzz of journalists and PR representatives, eager to get her attention. Moments earlier, she was announced as the winner of the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her sixth novel, May We Be Forgiven. The book is a hilarious black comedy, in which a family is torn apart by one man’s rapid descent into murderous insanity.

For an author who excels in writing about the shocking (within the first thirty pages of May We be Forgiven, a fatal road accident, an affair, a divorce, and horrific domestic violence have all occurred), it’s now very much Homes’s turn to be shocked – by her first major literary prize.

“I didn’t think I could win,” she tells me, looking genuinely surprised. “I thought Hilary Mantel could win, I thought Barbara Kingsolver could win, I thought Zadie Smith could win, I thought Kate Atkinson could win, I thought Maria Semple could win – but not me!

“It feels fantastic. At the moment it’s still not real, but otherwise fantastic.”

Homes, 51, whose first name is Amy, is in favor of the all-female shortlist of the award, something that has provoked controversy in the past from some who have branded the prize as sexist.

Source: daily telegraph


Musician Plays Guitar During Brain Surgery

California musician Brad Carter plays guitar with a finger-picking style. So when Parkinson’s disease caused his fingers to tremble, he gradually lost his touch. Drugs helped for awhile but eventually doctors told Carter he could get a pacemaker implant to stop the tremors. The implant has to be placed on the exact right location of the brain and the only way for doctors to know if they have the right spot is to keep the patient awake under general anesthesia. There are no pain receptors on the brain and so this approach is quite common. In fact, the UCLA Medical Center has performed this kind of operation about 500 times. But this is the first time a patient asked if he could play the guitar during the procedure.

The doctors also tweeted the surgery. Which was a cute idea, but I think I’d rather my brain doctor focus on, you know, my brain.

Source: The Guardian


Forget the films, it's all about the fashion!

They go to promote their latest films but it's in the style stakes that many stars hope to make an impression at Cannes. Celebrities have been gracing the red carpet at the French film festival for the past ten days so who got it right and who got it very wrong when it came to their choice of outfit?

Source: daily mail


Second jewel theft strikes Cannes film festival


A necklace reportedly worth 1.9m euros (£1.6m) has been stolen during the Cannes film festival, in the second such theft to hit this year's event.

The expensive piece by Swiss jeweller De Grisogono vanished after a celebrity party at a five-star hotel in the resort town of Cap d'Antibes.

The theft occurred despite "large security measures", including 80 security guards, the jeweller said.

Last week, thieves ripped a safe with jewels from the wall of a hotel room.

The latest robbery happened after a gala held at the exclusive Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on Tuesday night.

The high-profile event celebrated De Grisogono's 20th anniversary, and was attended by international movie stars like Sharon Stone and Ornella Muti.

The jeweller house regularly loans its jewels to celebrities, including Paris Hilton and Cameron Diaz.

"It is actually the first time it has happened in our 20-year history," the company said in a statement.

It added that the theft occurred "despite the large security measures set in place: over 80 security guards plus police".

Last Friday, thieves stole jewels by Swiss jewellers Chopard from the Novotel hotel.

The precious goods were worth more than 770,000 euros.

Chopard is an official sponsor of the festival and also makes its top award, the Palme d'Or. But the trophy was not among the stolen items.

At least two apartments rented by film executives have also been burgled during the festival, according to the AFP news agency.



Eurovision Song Contest won by Denmark

Denmark has triumphed at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, held in the Swedish city of Malmo.

Emmelie de Forest, 20, had been the overwhelming favorite among the 26 entries, with her song Only Teardrops. Azerbaijan finished second,according to BBC.

The UK's Bonnie Tyler came 19th, an improvement on last year when Engelbert Humperdinck came second from last.

There was disappointment for Ireland's Ryan Dolan as he finished in last place with just five points.

De Forest won with 281 points and Azerbaijan's Farid Mammadov finished 47 points behind, followed by Ukraine in third and Norway in fourth.

Denmark, which will now have the job of hosting the 59th contest next year, had previously won in 1963 and 2000.

'It's amazing'

De Forest sang her up-tempo tune barefoot, saying before she performed: "It makes me feel closer to the ground, the earth and makes me feel more relaxed."

Emmelie de Forest of Denmark at a press conference following her win in the Eurovision Song Contest at the Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden, on 18 May De Forest described the experience as "overwhelming" at a news conference following the contest

At the post-event news conference, she told reporters: "It has been quite stressful but it's also a wonderful thing that has happened to me. It's amazing.

"It was crazy when they put the butterfly [of the winning country's flag] on the dress. I didn't understand we had won at that point."

She added: "Of course I believed in the song, but that's the exciting thing about Eurovision you don't know what's going to happen. So I was surprised and shocked when it happened."

Zlata Ognevich of the Ukraine is carried on stage by Igor Vovkovinskiy to perform at the final of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest at the Malmo Opera Hall, Malmo, Sweden, on 18 May Ukraine act Zlata Ognevich was carried on stage by Ukrainian-born Igor Vovkovinskiy, who, standing at 7ft 8in, is the tallest man in the US

TV viewers across Europe were treated to the mix of high-energy pop and power ballads that have become synonymous with the contest, as well as some outlandish stage performances.


One of the more eccentric acts was Romania's Cezar, who mixed his operatic voice with a disco beat. He managed a respectable 13th position.

UK entrant Tyler, 61, who is best known for her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart, had high hopes for her chances.